Bogor, 60 km south of Jakarta, is most famous for its botanical gardens. In the days before independence, however, this was the most important Dutch hill station, midway between the mountains and the heat-ridden plains. Governor-General van Imhoff is credited with its discovery in 1745. He built a large country estate which he named Buitenzorg (‘Without a Care’), but it was not until 1811 that it was first used as a country residence by Sir Stamford Raffles, during the British interregnum, and not until many years later that Bogor became the semi-official capital.
Bogor has become an important center for scientific research, including botany, agronomy and forestry. Though Bogor stands at a height of only 290 meters it’s appreciably cooler than Jakarta, but visitors in the wet season should bear in mind the town’s nickname: the ‘City of Rain’. Bogor has probably the highest annual rainfall in Java and is credited with a record 322 thunderstorms a year.
Bogor has a presidential palace named ‘Istana Bogor’. It’s one of 6 Presidential Palaces in Indonesia. The palace is noted for its distinctive architectural, historical, features, as well as the adjoining botanical gardens. Istana Bogor was opened to the public in 1968 to public tour groups (not individuals), with the permission of the then President of Indonesia, Suharto. The number of visitors annually is approximately 10,000 people and the gardens of the palace have an area of 284,000 square metres (28.4 hectares).